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Oakland A’s send Chad Pinder to DL, call up Franklin Barreto and Trayce Thompson

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Starting pitcher Daniel Gossett also heads back to Triple-A.

Pictured: The play on which Pinder got hurt.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s announced several roster moves on Saturday, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Utilityman Chad Pinder was placed on the 10-day DL with a hyperextended knee and pitcher Daniel Gossett was sent down to Triple-A Nashville, and coming up to take their places are outfielder Trayce Thompson and infielder Franklin Barreto.

Pinder hurt himself during Thursday’s game, when he slipped while trying to field a routine single to CF (see picture at top of article). He wrenched his knee on the play, and the problem lingered enough that he’ll sit out for a minute to recover. He’d spent all of his time in the outfield so far this year, but he was also the team’s de facto backup infielder.

Gossett got shredded in his first two starts of 2018, but the A’s won’t need a fifth starter again for over a week due to some upcoming off-days. That gives them the opportunity to briefly drop to a four-man rotation and add an extra hitter to their bench, which has been short on backup bodies because of the overloaded eight-man bullpen. By the time they need the fifth starter again, veteran free agent signing Trevor Cahill should be ready to come up and take over. Cahill is making his season debut in Triple-A on Saturday, after his late addition to the club led to an abbreviated spring training and insufficient preparation time.

Meanwhile, two players are arriving to shore up that short bench just before the A’s travel to an NL park for interleague play. Thompson was claimed off waivers on Thursday, and at the very least he should provide strong defense amid Oakland’s disastrous outfield glovework. His bat has gone silent in recent years, but at age 27 he’ll get a chance to show what he can do on a new club.

Finally, Barreto takes the spot vacated by Pinder. The A’s needed a new backup infielder, and they’re turning to the best healthy prospect in their whole farm system. Barreto briefly debuted in MLB last year but was set for more Triple-A time at age 22. In his season debut for Nashville on Thursday, he went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, and a sac fly. He’s primarily a middle infielder and Slusser refers to him as the “team’s second baseman of the future,” but she also mentions the outfield as part of his skill set. The only other infielder on Oakland’s 40-man roster is Jorge Mateo, another prospect who is a step behind Barreto in development.

Hot takes

The biggest news here is Pinder, but as injuries go this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Slusser frames it as a precautionary move as much as anything, and frankly it’s unclear how much he would have played over the next couple weeks anyway. They’re only scheduled to face three lefty starters over their next 10 games, and two of them are in the NL park where Khris Davis will likely need to take over the extra outfield spot that would normally have gone to Pinder (as a platoon-mate for Matt Joyce). This is as harmless a time as any for one of your righty platoon guys to miss a couple weeks.

Furthermore, this conveniently happens to be the exact moment that Oakland was already adding a spare righty outfielder in Thompson. That even further reduces the chance that Pinder was going to see significant outfield time during this time span. Thompson might not be here for long, as he could be the odd man out when Cahill arrives on April 17, but he was already going to be fighting Pinder for at-bats during the time that the latter is now expected to miss.

My biggest fear out of this whole episode is that Barreto will sit on the bench doing nothing for a fortnight. He had a good spring and then a great Opening Day in the minors, and he’s supposed to be spending the next couple months getting all the playing time he can with an eye on solving his strikeout issues and making the permanent jump to MLB this summer. Granted, there’s probably plenty to be gained from a stint on the big league bench surrounded by experienced players and coaches and all the rest, but it would have been nice to see him get more than one game in the minors before needing to fulfill an emergency call-up.

Overall this is probably all minor, short-term news. Pinder isn’t hurt bad, Gossett was always a short-term bridge to Cahill, Thompson might just be passing through town before moving to his next team, and Barreto gets another cup of coffee as he prepares for his future role. Let’s enjoy the new guys while they’re here and savor the four-man bench while we’ve got it.

Welcome, new guys! Hope you feel better soon, Chad!

Oakland A's 25-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Kendall Graveman (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)

Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Emilio Pagan (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Chris Hatcher (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Daniel Coulombe (L)
Catchers

Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)

Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Boog Powell (L)
Jake Smolinski (R)
Trayce Thompson (R)

10-day DL: RHP Ryan Dull (shoulder), C Josh Phegley (fingers), UT Chad Pinder (knee), DH Renato Nunez (hamstring)

60-day DL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), RHP Paul Blackburn (forearm strain)